Sunday, 1 September 2013

Getting High

I'm now one week into my first altitude camp of the season with the British team, in Tignes.  The plan this year is to have 4 altitude camps of roughly 3 weeks each. One now, one in october, one around Christmas time and then one more right before the world U23's in January.
Altitude training is a bit strange and the first week of the camp has been used as adaptation. So we haven't really trained that much yet. Coming from 100m up to 2000m is quite a shock to the system and even short easy training session takes quite a bit of recovery time.
As we are not training so much we have been focusing a lot on rest and recovery. Resting can be tricky for us as we want to train and get a bit restless when we know we can't. But we are surviving. To avoid the cabin fever/restlessness we have done a few fun things... such as taking a trip to the golf driving range up in Tignes. I am rubbish at golf, and on the driving range i was horrific. We have also watched a few films selected carefully from Alex's library of chick flicks. Everybody hated me for telling them that the film "chalet girl" sucked. Apparently it is a classic... i didn't think so.
We have rented a chalet here and are self catering (no chalet girl for us). Callum is the chef amongst us and has cooked dinner most nights with help from others... last night i gave him a break and cooked pasta bake, i like to think that is my cooking duty done for the camp. But i did mutter something about being able to cook mexican... hopefully nobody heard me and i can get away with it.
France is generally pretty good for food. Good cheese, good food and alright bread. But we had to stock up yesterday and decided to do it at a little village we were passing when we were training.  We bought all the bread in the shop and couldn't find half the stuff we were looking for and our attempts at avoiding the drive to the bottom of the valley to do a food shop were meaningless.
We also had a kayak session with a local kayak instructor. Nobody fell in, despite my attempts at rocking the others boats and running into them... such a disappointment.
The actual training we have done has been good. Yesterday we were finally let of the leash and had a good level 3 interval from 1000m up to over 2000m and the French - Italian boarder. With the sunny weather and thin air my sun tan is coming on leaps and bounds. Yesterday afternoon we had an easy walk/run for 2 hours from 2200m up to 2800m and the bottom of a glacier. It was good to take in the view of a glacier, even if it meant a little extra walk in... after all it probably won't be there in 10 years.
Today we had a 4 hour combi session, first we double polled for an hour from 1300m up to 1800m. We had set our selves the goal of double poling up the first bit but when we got there and realised how steep the road actually was, we quickly realised it was going to be a hard task. With the last section an average gradient of 9%, the level 1 session became a little bit of level 2 and we managed to double pole all the way back to the chalet. We had been wearing reflective's to go through tunnels on the main road, so we stopped and took them off and had something to eat before heading the last 40min up 6k and 500m of ascent. The road was now really narrow with lots of hairpins and twist and turns. We got to the top and met Thomas at the van. We changed into running gear and had some more food and drink. Then we walked up in the mountains up to 3000m. The aim was to get to a 3800m peak but the path became more than a simple walking path after a while so we turned round. Despite know everyone on the team for over 10 years now i still learned something new... like Callum is really scared of heights! Don't think he enjoyed walking along the ridge with 1000m drops bellow him.  We finished with a 50min loop around a few lakes back to the van to give us our 4 hours. All in all a pretty good session.
The plan for the next few days is pretty hard, including a classic uphill time trial. Towards the end of next week get a rest day, by that time i think i will be needing it!
I'm sharing a room with Alex during the camp. Callum was the first person in the chalet and shotgunned the only single room for the boys. Sharing with Alex isn't too bad. We don't share often so it is nice to share with someone different for a change. Somehow the girls managed to each get a single room with massive double beds!
For the weekend, James from the junior team has been joining us. He lives in France and was in the area so it worked out quite well.  It's fun to have someone else along and good to see how the juniors are doing compared to us.

I'm writing my blog in the living room and the girls got angry that i hadn't mentioned them much. So Posy is here, and Fi too. Posy got sunburnt during the intervals yesterday. Fi is her usual... mother of the group keeping us all in line. Seeing as almost everyone has got a mention, i best say that Thomas has been coaching us this week and kelly has been here as a physio. Thomas is normally confined to the wax room, and now is like a springer spaniel, let off the leash. Far too much energy! Sometimes when you are tired, someone with lots of energy bouncing around is the last thing you want!

Think you are all updated! and everybody got a mention...
I'm off to try and find some oxygen.

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